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THE PAPABILE AND THE PAUPER: THE INFLUENCE OF · PDF fileMichelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, or simply known as ―Caravaggio‖ (September 1571–July 1610), has been labeled as one

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THE PAPABILE AND THE PAUPER: THE INFLUENCE OF CARDINAL DEL MONTES PATRONAGE FOR MICHELANGELO MERISI DA CARAVAGGIO

By

BRITTANY ASHLYN STELLA

A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT

OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2011

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2011 Brittany Ashlyn Stella

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To my parents, Danny and Debbie Stella

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank my parents, Danny and Debbie Stella for their support, my

committee, Dr. Robert Westin and Dr. Elizabeth Ross for their guidance through this

research, the University of Florida Art History faculty for their research advice during the

past few years, the University of Florida library staff and the Interlibrary Loan Office for

working with my often difficult requests, the UF in Rome Program for allowing me to

spend unforgettable weeks in the Eternal City and view Caravaggios works during my

undergraduate studies, and my friends for their moral support during stressful times.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS page

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .................................................................................................. 4

ABSTRACT ..................................................................................................................... 6

CHAPTER

1 INTRODUCTION ...................................................................................................... 8

2 THE COUNCIL OF TRENT AND COUNTER-REFORMATION ITALY ................... 14

The Council of Trent ............................................................................................... 15 Pope Clement VIII Aldobrandini and Cardinal Gabriele Paleotti ............................. 18 The Counter-Reformation and the Roman Inquisition ............................................. 21

3 EARLY EMPLOYMENT IN ROME AND SIGNIFICANT PATRONS ....................... 26

First Arrival and the Early Years, 15921595 ........................................................ 29 Distinguished Roman Patrons: Del Monte, the Giustinianis, and the Matteis ......... 33

4 DEL MONTES INFLUENCE ON CARAVAGGIOS ARTISTIC EXPANSION ......... 43

Saint Francis: Caravaggio Creates a Counter-Reformation Subject ....................... 45 Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto: The Alchemist and His Apprentice ............................. 50 Medusa: Catering to the Tastes of the Medicis ....................................................... 58

5 DEL MONTES MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS IN CARAVAGGIOS PAINTINGS ....... 62

The Musicians: Musical Performance and Allegory in the Del Monte Household ... 64 The Giustiniani and Del Monte Lute Players ........................................................... 68

6 SCIENCE IN THE DEL MONTE HOUSEHOLD ...................................................... 73

Martha, Mary, and the Mirror .................................................................................. 76 Love Conquers All .................................................................................................. 79

7 CONCLUSION ........................................................................................................ 87

APPENDIX: LIST OF ART WORKS CITED .................................................................. 91

LIST OF REFERENCES ............................................................................................... 94

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .......................................................................................... 101

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Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the

Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts

THE PAPABILE AND THE PAUPER: THE INFLUENCE OF CARDINAL DEL MONTES PATRONAGE FOR MICHELANGELO MERISI DA CARAVAGGIO

By

Brittany Ashlyn Stella

August 2011 Chair: Robert H. Westin Major: Art History

The artist Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio has been considered a catalyst for

late sixteenth and early seventeenth century painting. Although often criticized by his

contemporaries for his lack of tradition and disegno, his artistic style progressed into

something of his own that redefined the meaning of Baroque art. In observing paintings

by the artist we notice a juncture in his artistic style as it shifted toward more refined

subject matter and compositions.

This study focuses on Caravaggios privately commissioned religious and secular

paintings dating to the period when he was living with his patron, Cardinal Francesco

Maria del Monte, between the years of 1595 and 1601. Cardinal del Monte was highly

influential for Caravaggio during this period, and their relationship was arguably the

most significant in the artists life. Del Monte encouraged the artist to expand his

compositions and subject matter, but his social connections also helped the artist

receive future commissions, including his very first public commission for the Contarelli

Chapel in the church of San Luigi dei Francesi. After Caravaggios encounter with del

Monte, his work progressed from simple half-length genre subjects to full-length

compositions of religious, mythological, and musical scenes. This was achieved in part

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by Caravaggios use of objects found in del Montes inventory that he incorporated into

his compositions. Utilizing these objects helped Caravaggio create more complex

settings and compositional arrangements for his subjects; these artistic experiments

and improvements prepared him for his career as a private artist, and also as a painter

of public church commissions.

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, or simply known as Caravaggio (September

1571July 1610), has been labeled as one of the most influential and enigmatic artists

of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Considered the first modern

artist by Roger Fry and others, he was responsible for changing the dynamics of

painting during the Baroque era.1 By examining the artist, his surroundings, and a

chronology of his works, we are able to see his true innovative style and artistic

progression.

The purpose of this study is to demonstrate that the patronage of Cardinal

Francesco Maria del Monte (15491627), who was considered a papabile (a cardinal

with the possibility to become the next pope), had a dramatic effect on Caravaggio

artistically, intellectually, and socially. The cardinal played multiple roles in the artists

life, all of which had a positive impact on the artist in different ways. The duration of

Caravaggios career while he was living with and working for del Monte is the primary

period of focus; Caravaggio first acquired residency at Cardinal del Montes Palazzo

Madama in Rome during the mid-1590s until 1600/1601, arguably the most progressive

time of the artists entire life. I propose that it was del Montes patronage that had the

most significant impact on the artists work during his lifetime, more than any other

1 Genevieve Warwick, introduction in Caravaggio: Realism, Rebellion, Reception (Newark, NJ, 2006), p.

13. Warwick mentions Roger Fry (18661934) as one of the leading art critics to bestow Caravaggio with this title. Leading contemporary writers on Caravaggio include Giovanni Baglione, Gian Pietro Bellori, and Giulio Mancini. More recent leading scholars for Caravaggio include John T. Spike, Catherine Puglisi, Mia Cinotti, Keith Christiansen, and Creighton E. Gilbert. Key sources that pertain to del Montes relationship with Caravaggio include Zygmunt Wabiski, Christoph Frommel, and Luigi Spezzaferro. This thesis grew out of a research paper presented in a Caravaggio seminar, fall of 2010 at the University of Florida. A listing for the remaining key sources for this work is found at the end of this thesis. A more extensive listing of all Caravaggio sources can be found in John T. Spikes catalogue of 2001.

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person who crossed his path. The cardinal was not only an artistic guide but an

intellectual informer and vehicle of esoteric knowledge (through his circle of

acquaintances, collection of musical and scientific instruments, and knowledgeable

resources).

After the Council of Trent, the city of Rome experienced serious reform, which

affected public art commissions directly. The Catholic Church sought to defend its

power against Protestant threats and wanted churches to display imagery that exhibited

dramatic devotion, suffering, and piety. Caravaggio had no formal academic training

and no experience with this type of imagery, but del Monte supplemented his lack of

training and aided him in his career, which later gained him noteworthy public

commissions.

Caravaggios employment history prior to his encounter with del Monte consisted

of apprenticing under Simone Peterzano (154096) in Milan and then later in the

workshop of Cavaliere Giuseppe Cesari dArpino (15681640) in Rome. Despite the

reputation of both of these artists, Caravaggios own work never greatly expanded or

flourished during or immediately after these experiences. Peterzano w

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